RARA-AVIS: Re: Poly what?

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 19 Sep 2007


Re your comments below:

"Being colloquial doesn't have much to do with it, in my opinion."

Oh, c'mon, T! Style is an integral componet of hard-boiled, and the style is colloquial. It was precisely the fascination with American vernacular, particularly as used by Hammett, what drew both Chandler and R. Macdonald to the form.

"Tough (and sometimes cynical) would describe many hardboiled characters."

No, it doesn't. Tough (and sometimes cynical) characters who express themselves IN A PARTICULAR WAY are what describes hard-boiled.

"Gutman does not speak the vernacular but is about as tough as they come."

Maybe he's tough and maybe he's not. To me he's just vicious and treacherous, and that's not the same as tough. But even if he is, it's his precisely his refined manner that keeps him from being hard-boiled.

And that refined, cultured manner is meant to be a stark contrast to the TRULY hard-boiled Spade.

And, Miker, Holmes clearly is NOT hard-boiled. Hard-boiled writers were responding to, and, to a degree, against precisely the style of crime fiction exemplified by Conan Doyle. If Holmes had been hard-boiled, writers like Hammett and Chandler would have been emulating him, not trying to do something entirely different.


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